Pioneers brought to life at museum

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WALLA WALLA -- Retired teacher Lois Hahn, as a member of the Fort Walla Walla Museum Living History Co., will present early Walla Walla madam Josephine "Dutch Jo" Wolfe at 2 p.m. Saturday in the pioneer village. She will discuss some of her experiences in early Walla Walla, as well as conditions in the West, particularly for women.

Dutch Jo came to this area around 1860 and lived here until her death in 1909. She ran an upscale establishment for gentlemen and insisted on high decorum from her employees. Dutch Jo's concern for the welfare of her employees led to regular health checkups and fashionable, but not too revealing, clothing.

Also concerned about the welfare of the community, she was a public benefactress. She admired work performed by crews that fought fires that frequently occurred in Walla Walla and she provided for needy firefighters. She erected the firefighter's statue at the city cemetery. A copy of the statue is at Crawford Park on Main Street next to the Farmers' Market, near what was one of her establishments. She gave generously to the Catholic Church. At her death, all of her possessions and papers were destroyed by her instruction.

The 2 p.m. Sunday program features German-born pioneer brewmasters John and Catherine Stahl, who met in California during the Gold Rush and came to Walla Walla in 1870.

The Stahls purchased the City Brewery on Second Avenue where Stardust Lanes bowling alley now stands. In 1880 they erected a brick brewery and a brick home next door. After John's death in 1884, Catherine successfully ran the business.

The Stahls also built an opera house next to the plaza at First Avenue and Main Street. Stahl Street, running perpendicular to Second Avenue just south of the bowling alley, commemorates the couple's legacy.

John and Catherine are portrayed by the Stahl's great-great-grandson David Emigh and his wife, Jill. The Emighs own Shady Lawn Antiques & Coffee.

Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is free to some, including all children under 6. Tickets for children 6-12 are $3; $6 for age 62 and older and students; and $7 for general admission. For more information, call 525-7703 or visit fortwallawallamuseum.org.

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